Seoul shares open nearly flat ahead of key U.S. data

South Korean stocks started nearly flat Wednesday as investors took a wait-and-see approach ahead of key economic indicators set to be released in the United States this week. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 0.78 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,625.83 in the first 15 minutes of trading. Overnight, the U.S. stock market closed mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.25 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.37 percent. The U.S. is set to announce the personal consumption expenditures price index Thursday (U.S. time), as well as fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth Wednesday. In Seoul, top tech giant Samsung Electronics moved up 0.27 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.59 percent. Steelmakers gathered ground as well, with POSCO Holdings rising 2.58 percent and Korea Zinc gaining 0.22 percent. Financial firms, on the other hand, kicked off lower, with KB Financial falling 0.48 percent and Shinhan Financial losing 0.24 percent. The local currency was trading at 1,332.3 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.3 won from the previous session's close. Source: Yonhap News Agency